25 July 2014

Giveaway! Clean That Screen with WHOOSH! Screen Shine

Did You Know?
  • 30% of a virus can be transferred from your screen to your fingers. 
  • The average cell phone is up to 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat.
  • 18% of mobile phones are contaminated with staphylococcus.
  • 16% of mobile phones are contaminated with fecal flora and E. coli. (okay fess up, you know you take your device in the bathroom with you!)

I didn't know all of those Fun Facts, all I knew is I wanted to find a cleaner for my iPhone and iPad that would get results. I don't use a screen protector because I like the feel of the iPhone/iPad screen when working. However, one of the results of being an avid iPhoneographer is that we edit a lot on our devices. That's hundreds and thousands of swipes with our grimy little fingers on our screens.

I had been using a screen cleaner with a microfiber cloth, but it just seemed to smear the oily finger prints around rather than remove them completely. It always looked like there was a bit of a film on the screen.

Quite by accident I stumbled upon a product called WHOOSH! Screen Shine. I ordered it and was totally blown away by the speed and degree of clean I got using it. The kit I ordered contained a Desk size 3.4 oz spray bottle of Screen Shine, a Pocket/Purse size 0.3 oz and two 6"x6" anti-microbial, microfiber cleaning cloths. The screens were sparkling clean in half the time it used to take me and the formula seems to make the fingerprints less noticeable as I continue to use my device. 

I was so excited about the product, I ordered a DUO+ set and sent it to my son. He received it and sent me this text (left).

When I find something I like I love to share and so I contacted WHOOSH! to see if they would sponsor a giveaway on Art of Mob and they loved the idea.

So, wouldn't you love to try it? It's not limited to your mobile devices - you can use Screen Shine for HDTV's, eyeglasses, computer screens, GPS, camera screens and other consumer electronic screens.



Well guess what folks?! I have a GIVEAWAY!

If you live in the USA or Canada, just leave a comment below and I will select a winner by random draw on Monday, July 28th at 8:00 am PDT.

You will receive the fabulous DUO+ package of Desk and Pocket size courtesy of WHOOSH!



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24 July 2014

Brandon Kidwell - The Master of Many Styles

I first noticed Brandon Kidwell's double-exposure work and was happily surprised when visiting his online galleries to see that he has an eclectic style that includes various subjects and techniques. Below is my interview with this very talented mobile photographer.

© Brandon Kidwell
What is your name and where do you live?
BK:  Hello, my name is Brandon Kidwell and I'm from Jacksonville, Florida.

How did you get started in mobile photography?
BK:  I bought my first iPhone in the winter of 2012 and saw that my kids were using Instagram to share photos with their friends. I'm not a big social media person, but saw that you could just post photos to share without making them necessarily personal. Then I found a few people using our local @igersjax tag which is a local community and really enjoyed the photos these people shared. From there, I followed the rabbit down the hole and joined the great AMPt Community and was fortunate enough this year to be invited into the incredible GRRYO family.

What device do you use?
BK:  My main tool is an iPhone 5 but I also use a Nokia Lumia 1020.

Love begins at home © Brandon Kidwell
Love begins at home © Brandon Kidwell
Do you have a traditional photography or art background?
BK:  Outside of family snapshots I had no experience outside of mobile photography. Prior to my photography days I spent a lot of time skateboarding with my son and filming and editing videos on my Mac.

Morning Battles © Brandon Kidwell
Who or what inspires you?
BK:  I'm inspired every day by my wife and kids and our everyday moments. I try more and more to "be here". I'm a constant daydreamer and my wife describes me as "in his own world" often. Outside of my family I'm inspired by films, books, photographers I've been fortunate enough to get to know in the mobile photography community and I can say the beauty of life, nature and the mysterious universe - it never ceases to amaze me.

Little Man, King of the Wild 2 © Brandon Kidwell
Little Man, King of the Wild 2 © Brandon Kidwell
By Any Other Name © Brandon Kidwell
By Any Other Name © Brandon Kidwell
Looking through your gallery on Instagram, I see a lot of overlaid imagery, beautiful silhouettes, gorgeous beach scapes and stunning portraiture. You seem to be a master of all sorts of styles - is there one you prefer?
BK:  Wow, thank you very much, that's a great compliment to hear. I am still new to photography so I try to be like a sponge and absorb everything I can. I try to do the same with how I share and be open to sharing my work in the best manner for each specific image. I tried to force a style or genre at one point and it didn't feel right. I love exploring different styles and being open to any door available so I don't narrow the creative playing field.

Proud Pelican © Brandon Kidwell
Proud Pelican © Brandon Kidwell
Lost time is never found again © Brandon Kidwell
Lost time is never found again © Brandon Kidwell
What piece are you most proud of and why?
BK:  There is an image of my daughter called "She Blooms". That piece is the most honest for me, the closest I feel I've come to executing an idea. She's a teenager and watching her grow up into a beautiful young lady has been one of the most incredible, beautiful and slightly frightening experiences for me.


Congratulations on your recent First Place IPPAWARD for the Lifestyle Category! Can you tell me a bit about the winning image?
BK:  Thank you very much, that was a great surprise and a great honor. The photo was taken on top of the Main Street Bridge in downtown Jacksonville, Florida. My wife joined our Dragon Boat team for a corporate fundraising event and is in the photo in the 4th row from the back. All day I was taking photos from the ground and none of them were anything I'd share artistically, mostly just family snapshots. With the wide river and the skyline of buildings across the way in the harsh daylight, the photos weren't spectacular. I decided to climb the bridge and stand on one of the lookout decks and wait until they launched for their race. Luckily, they floated directly underneath me and I snapped this shot. I later rowed in a race and going against the current it felt like we were pushing through mud. I remembered there was a cracked paint texture in PicFX and I used it for the photo to portray that feeling.


Do you normally plan your photo shoots, or do you just take photos as you go about your day-to-day life?
BK:  My busy day consists mainly of family, animals and work, so planned shoots are rare. I generally work shooting into my life and leave 30 minutes early to explore when meeting people or keep my eye out for interesting locations en route to somewhere. I have had to learn to balance life with family and put away my camera phone after a few shots. I abused the camera in the beginning and annoyed my wife and kids. They're great and enjoy taking a few photos, but don't enjoy all day photography outings so I exercise my discretion regularly.

Shadowplay © Brandon Kidwell
Shadowplay © Brandon Kidwell
The world is yours © Brandon Kidwell
The world is yours © Brandon Kidwell
What are your favorite photo editing apps? Do you have a typical workflow? If so, please describe it.
BK;  Snapseed is a must for everyone. It's the essential editing app for photography and keeps image resolution intact. I have always been a Filterstorm junky, but lately have been using Union app for my blends more. VSCO Cam is incredible for the tones it generates, iColorama has so many incredible tools I'm still exploring them. Mextures is unparalleled in its colors and textures. There simply isn't another app like it. There are many others I use from time to time - AvgCamPro, Camera+ is an incredible camera app and great for its exposure controls and for capturing action. Oggl, Noir Photo, SKRWT and Retouch are all great editing assets.

The Doorman © Brandon Kidwell
The Doorman © Brandon Kidwell
I don't have a regular workflow outside of my double exposure edits. The self-portrait and hand double exposure edits are all planned and start with the photo of the subject mostly silhouetted but with enough light to highlight the features and give is some sense of depth. I then shoot or choose the second photo to blend in based on the desired emotion or message I'm trying to convey. Once the image is blended, I'll use an appropriate color scheme and texture if necessary to emphasize the mood. If interested, I have two tutorials that cover the basic technical aspect of my workflow on my website.

A Man of Means: Doorway to the Past © Brandon Kidwell
A Man of Means: Doorway to the Past © Brandon Kidwell
Hard Times © Brandon Kidwell
Hard Times © Brandon Kidwell
How do you manage all your photos? Do you store them on a computer or keep them on your device?
BK:  I started a website late last year to make sense and curate my work since it varies in style and subject matter. I save edits, photo essays and series in folders on my laptop. Other than that I have two backup drives that are highly unorganized outside of the default chronological order they're saved in. I probably should spend some time to organize more but I don't see that happening soon. Ha! Ha!

Exhale © Brandon Kidwell
Exhale © Brandon Kidwell
Have you ever sold your work? If so, what venue do you use?
BK:  Hmmm, I sold a few minor pieces through INK361 and my old Instagram account but outside of that I haven't explored that side of my art yet.

Do you have any advice for aspiring mobile photographers?
BK:  Explore, experiment and don't be afraid to try something new. The best thing to me about mobile photography is that the tools are literally at your fingertips and with the apps available, you can shoot a beautiful sunset and share it directly and unaltered or you can take a picture of an ordinary bottle cap and make it a work of art. The limits are only those which we impose upon ourselves, so be open to whatever you feel like capturing and creating. One of the best ways to find inspiration is to get involved in the community, there are many incredible resources including blogs and websites like the one you're on now Art of Mob J, GRRYO, AMPt, etc., as well as great communities and social sharing networks such as Instagram, EyeEm, 500px, Flickr and jump in!

Stranger than Fiction © Brandon Kidwell
Stranger than Fiction © Brandon Kidwell 
Room With a View © Brandon Kidwell
Room With a View © Brandon Kidwell
Is there anything else you'd like to add?
BK:  I'd just like to say thank you very much for the opportunity to share a little about my art, this community is incredible for the amount of sharing and support. I have a great feeling that mobile photography, whatever it will become in the future, will produce some incredible art and a flourishing generation of artists to come.

One Day...© Brandon Kidwell
One Day...© Brandon Kidwell

Find Brandon: Website / Flickr / Instagram / EyeEm / 500px / AMPt 

Apps Mentioned:
Picfx
Snapseed
Filterstorm
Union
VSCO Cam
iColorama
Mextures
Average Camera Pro
Camera+
Oggl
Noir Photo
SKRWT
Touch Retouch


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23 July 2014

Fold Defy App by Jixi Pix Overview and Giveaway

It's always interesting to see what Jixi Pix will come up with next. They are the developers who created Aquarella, Artista Oil, Dramatic Black & White, Grungetastic, Rainy Daze and so many more - you can view the whole family of apps and software here

They have come up with another creative app - Fold Defy which is available for Mac, Windows Phone, Android Phone, iPad and iPhone! 

I have a giveaway for some iPad and iPhone promo codes - to enter just leave a comment and please specify in your comment whether you would like the iPad or iPhone version. I will draw two for the iPad and three for the iPhone on Friday, July 25th at 8:00 am PDT. 

Here are some samples I made using one of my Art of Mob logos and Fold Defy.

© Geri Centonze
Fold Selection
© Geri Centonze
Crease Selection
© Geri Centonze
Crumple Selection
You can even have just a single crease as if the image was dog-eared on one corner.
© Geri Centonze
Crease 03
Someone on Instagram asked me how you might use this other than as a stand alone piece, so I set out to make something with that in mind. I took an image I had of a clock from a model home and ran it through Fold Defy using the Fold setting. I stretched the image nearly to the edge of the editing area using the "Image Size" setting under the Adjust Fold menu.

© Geri Centonze
© Geri Centonze
Then using a lesser known but very effective app called Wide Split Lens, I combined the above image with a face. To accomplish this I chose a template when I opened Wide Split Lens of a square with a circle inside it. You add the images one at a time (first the background image and then the one that goes in the inner circle). I applied one of the filters within the app for the following effect.
© Geri Centonze
© Geri Centonze
I wanted a bit more texture so I headed over to Stackables where I added a few of the filters for my final result. Stackables made the two images a bit more cohesive by applying the texture. 
© Geri Centonze
© Geri Centonze
A few tips to get you started. Fold Defy is like all of the Jixi Pix apps - a pair of dice on the top menu bar allows you to get randomized combinations of the effects. You can also select from Presets in the Fold, Crease or Crumple categories.

Once you have selected your preset, you can make changes to it. 

For a Fold preset you can vary the fold to go up or down. You can also adjust the number of columns and rows of folds you want in the final image. You can vary the Perspective, Variation, Fold Neatness, Fold Width, Image Size, Depth, Crinkle and Paper Texture. Click on the Paper Texture icon to choose from 18 styles. 

Fold Adjustments
For a Crease preset, you can change the Perspective, Variation, Image Size and Paper Texture. But you can also move the creases around by selecting one and dragging and dropping it. If you click on the duplicate button near the crease (it looks like one piece of paper stacked on top of another) you can easily duplicate a crease. By clicking on the pencil icon near the crease you can adjust it to a Fold or Crease (Folds are deeper), change the Direction from Down to Up or vice versa, adjust the Depth, Crinkle and Width. And to remove the crease entirely, just click on the "x".

Crease Adjustments
For the Crumple preset, you can change the Crumple Scale, Perspective, Variation, Image Size, Depth, Crinkle and Paper Texture. It also allows for altering any creases or folds that are included in the preset.

Crumble Tool Adjustments
Another tool that can be used on the overall image looks like a Light Bulb and it's the Light Tool (as you may have guessed). When you tap it, it will add a light bulb to your image and then you can move it around to change the direction the light is coming from. This will change the way the creases and shadows on your image look. Clicking the pencil icon when using the Light Tool will allow you to change the Light Strength, Shadow Strength and color, Shadow Height and Shadow Softness.

Light Tool Menu
There's a lot going on in this app and I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone creates. Due to the nature of the app, it can sometimes take a while to Save. I counted up to 30 seconds to save a crumpled image. On average it takes about 15 seconds to save using the other presets. This is on my iPad 4 running iOS 7. I don't have the iPhone version, so I'm not sure if the same happens when using it on an iPhone. 

Don't forget to sign up for the giveaway!

UPDATE! The Winners were drawn - congrats, I will be contacting you by email.

For iPhone:
Mike Cooney
Victoria Hyde
Enrique Estrada

For iPad:
NaProsvet
AlanH


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Inspirational Speech by Neil Gaiman for All Creatives

Do you ever need some inspiration to keep going with your creative projects? Or do you feel like an imposter who is only fooling the world that you have any talent at all? This is a thoroughly enjoyable, humorous and inspiring commencement speech given by author, Neil Gaiman.





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The Whole Story by Nick Nowak

This edition of The Whole Story features a very special photographer, my son Nick Nowak. Nick has always had a creative side, so it is no surprise to me that he also has a great photographic eye. I'm honored to showcase his work here.

The Photograph

© Nick Nowak


The Whole Story by Nick Nowak

My job takes me to some very interesting places throughout the Caribbean and Central America. On a recent trip to Belize I had a half-day free so I decided to take a road trip out to the ruins of Altun Ha north of Belize City. On the way out, my friend and driver, Greg, was in search of a spot for us to grab some lunch and we stumbled upon a roadside “restaurant” in a small village next to the ruins. The owner was a Belizean woman who I would guess was in her late 30’s. Greg was quick to order us a dozen “garnachas” which are a simple Mexican dish made from whole fried tortillas, beans and salsa. I counted a total of 5 children playing around the restaurant, I would guess their ages were 2-8. I assumed they were all siblings as they looked very much alike, a fact later confirmed by Greg. Two of the kids (the ones in the photo) were so quiet that I didn’t notice them until I sat down at one of the small tables and was directly facing them. Recognizing how photogenic the pair was I walked up to them, squatted down and asked if I could take their photo. The mom could see me from the kitchen as she was frying the tortillas and I looked up at her and she gave me a nod of approval. I took out my phone and snapped a few shots, this was the first one.

I edited the photo using Snapseed. I like the edit because the two kids were such old souls. Looking into their big brown eyes I felt like they had already been through so much at such a young age and their surroundings with the old car seat, the chipped paint and rustic floor complimented this perfectly.


The Photographer

A native of the Cayman Islands, Nick's background is in Business Administration and Marketing. He has over 13 years of commercial and residential real estate development experience in the Caribbean and is the President & CEO of the Coral Beach Village development on the island of Utila, Honduras. Nick lives northeast of Philadelphia with his wife and 2 daughters. He is an avid diver and fisherman and an amateur photographer.




Apps Mentioned:

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